2 Which bishop I know obtained [*12] that great ministry among you, not of himself, neither by men, nor out of vain glory; but [*13] by the love of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Whose moderation [*14] I admire; who by his silence is able to do more than [*15] others with all their vain talk. For he is fitted to the commands, as the harp to its strings.
4 Wherefore my soul esteems his mind towards God most happy,[p. 183]
knowing it to be fruitful in all virtue, and perfect; full of constancy, free from passion, [*1] and according to all the moderation of the living God.
5 Wherefore as becomes the children both of the light and of truth; flee divisions and false doctrines; but where your shepherd is, there do ye, as sheep, follow after.
6 For there are many wolves [*2] who seem worthy of belief with a [*3] false pleasure lead captive those that run in the course of God; but in the concord they shall find no place.
7 Abstain therefore from evil herbs which Jesus does not dress; because such are not the plantation of the Father. Not that I have found any division among you, but rather all manner of [*4] purity.
8 For as many as are of God, and of Jesus Christ, are also with their bishop. And as many as shall with repentance return into the unity of the church, even these shall also be the servants of God, that they may live according to Jesus.
9 Be not deceived, brethren; if any one follows him that makes a schism in the church, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If any one walks after any other opinion, he agrees not with the passion of Christ.
10 Wherefore let it be your endeavour to partake all of the same holy eucharist.
11 For there is but one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ; and one cup in the unity of his blood; one altar;
12 As also there is one bishop, together with his presbytery, and the deacons my fellow-servants: that so whatsoever ye do, ye may do it according to the will of God.
Desires their prayers, and to be united but not to Judaize.
MY brethren, the love I have towards you makes me the [*5] more large; and having a great joy in you, I endeavour to secure you against danger; or rather not I, but Jesus Christ; in whom being bound I the more fear, as being yet only [*6] on the way to suffering.
2 But your prayer to God shall make me perfect, that I may attain to that portion, which by God’s mercy is allotted to me: Fleeing to the Gospel as to the flesh of Christ; and to the Apostles as to the presbytery of the church.
3 Let us also love the prophets, forasmuch as they also have [*7] led us to the Gospel, and to hope in [*8] Christ, and to expect him.
4 In whom also believing they were saved in the unity of Jesus Christ; being holy men, worthy to be loved, and had in wonder;
5 Who have received testimony from Jesus Christ, and are numbered in the Gospel of our common hope.
6 But if any one shall preach the [*9] Jewish law unto you, hearken not unto him; for [*10] it is better to receive the doctrine of Christ from one that has been circumcised, than Judaism from one that has not.[p. 184]
7 But if either the one, or other, do not speak concerning Christ Jesus, they seem to me to be but as monuments and sepulchres of the dead, upon which are written only the names of men.
8 Flee therefore the wicked arts and snares of the prince of this world; lest at any time being oppressed by his cunning ye grow [*1] cold in your charity. But come all together into the same place with an undivided heart.
9 And I bless my God that I have a good conscience towards you, and that no one among you has whereof to boast either openly or privately, that I have been burthensome to him in much or little.
10 And I wish to all among whom I have conversed, that it may not turn to a witness against them.
11 For although some would have deceived me according to the flesh, yet the spirit, being from God, is not deceived; for it knows both whence it comes and whither it goes, and reproves the secrets of the heart.
12 I cried whilst I was among you; I spake with a loud voice: attend to the bishop, and to the presbytery, and to the deacons.
13 Now some supposed that I spake this as foreseeing the division [*2] that should come among you.
14 But he is my witness for whose sake I am in bonds that I knew nothing from any man. But the spirit spake, saying on this wise: Do nothing without the bishop:
15 Keep your [*3] bodies as the temples of God: Love unity; Flee divisions; Be the followers of Christ, as he was of his Father.
16 I therefore did as became me, as a man composed to unity. For where there is division, and wrath, God dwelleth not.
17 But the Lord forgives all that repent, if they [*4] return to the unity of God, and to the council of the bishop.
18 For I trust in the grace of Jesus Christ [*5] that he will free you from every bond.
19 Nevertheless I exhort you that you do nothing out of strife, but according to the instruction of Christ.
20 Because I have heard of some who say; unless I find it written in the [*6] originals, I will not believe it to be written in the Gospel. And when I said, It is written; they answered what lay before them in their corrupted copies.
21 But to me Jesus Christ is instead of all the uncorrupted monuments in the world; together with those [*7] undefiled monuments, his cross, and death, and resurrection, and the faith which is by him; by which I desire, through your prayers, to be justified.
22 The priests indeed are good; but much better is the High Priest to whom the Holy of Holies has been committed; and who alone has been entrusted with the secrets of God.
23 He is the door of the Father; by which Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, enter in; as well as the Apostles, and the church.[p. 185]
24 And all these things tend to the unity which is of God. Howbeit the Gospel has some. what in it far above all other dispensations; namely, the appearance of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, his passion and resurrection.
25 For the beloved prophets referred to him; but the gospel is the perfection of incorruption. All therefore together are good, if ye believe with charity.
Informs them he had heard that the persecution was stopped at Antioch, and directs them to send a messenger hitherto to congratulate with the church.
NOW as concerning the church of Antioch which is in Syria, seeing I am told that through your prayers and the bowels which ye have towards it in Jesus Christ, it is in peace; it will become you, as the church of God, to ordain some deacon to go to them thither as the ambassador of God; that he may rejoice with them when they meet together, and glorify God’s name.
2 Blessed be that man in Jesus Christ, who shall be found worthy of such a ministry; and ye yourselves also shall be glorified.
3 Now if you be willing, it is not impossible for you to do this for the grace of God; as also the other neighbouring churches have sent them, some bishops, some priests and deacons.
4 As concerning Philo the deacon of Cilicia, a most worthy man, he still ministers unto me in the word of God: together with Rheus of Agathopolis, a singular good person, who has followed me even from Syria, not regarding his life: These also bear witness unto you.
5 And I myself give thanks to God for you that you receive them as the Lord shall receive you. But for those that dishonoured them, may they be forgiven through the grace of Jesus Christ.
6 The charity of the brethren that are at Troas salutes you: from whence also I now write by Burrhus, who was sent together with me by those of Ephesus and Smyrna, for respect sake.
7 May our Lord Jesus Christ honour them; in whom they hope, both in flesh, and soul, and spirit; in faith, in love, in unity. Farewell in Christ Jesus our common hope.
^182:9 Vid. Vet. Interpr. Lat.
^182:11 Will, order.
^182:12 Ministry belonging to the public.
^182:14 Has struck me with wonder.
^182:15 Those that speak vain things.
^183:2 Vid. Vossii Annot in loc.
^183:4 Cleanliness made by sifting.
^183:5 Very much poured out.
^183:6 Vid. Voss. in loc. Imperfect.
^183:7 Or preached of the Gospel; and hoped in him, and expected him.
^183:8 Vid. Voss. in loc.
^183:10 Opinion: council.
^184:2 Of some.
^184:5 Who will loose from you.
^184:6 Archives, Vid. Voss. Annot. in loc.
The Lost Books of the Bible, , at sacred-texts.com
The EPISTLE of IGNATIUS to the SMYRNAeANS.
1 Declares his joy for their firmness in the Gospel. 4 Enlarges on the person of Christ, against such as pretend that Christ did not really suffer.
IGNATIUS, who is also called Theophorus, to the church of God the Father, and of the beloved Jesus Christ, which God hath mercifully [*4] blessed with every good gift; being filled with faith and charity, so that this is wanting in no gift; most worthy of God, and fruitful in saints: the church which is at Smyrna in Asia; all joy, through his immaculate spirit, and the word of God.
2 I glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom.
3 For I have observed that[p. 186]
you are settled in an immovable faith, as if you were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit; and are confirmed in love through the blood of Christ; being fully persuaded of those things which relate [*1] unto our Lord.
4 Who truly was of the race of David according to the flesh, but the Son of God according to the will and power of God; truly born of the Virgin, and baptized of John; that so [*2] all righteousness might be fulfilled by him.
5 He was also truly crucified by Pontius Pilate, and Herod the Tetrarch, being nailed for us in the flesh; by the fruits of which we are, even by his most blessed passion.
6 That he might set [*3] up a token for all ages through his resurrection, to all his holy and faithful servants, whether they be Jews or Gentiles, in one body of his church.
7 Now all these things he suffered for us that we might be saved. And he suffered truly, as he also truly raised up himself: And not, as some unbelievers say, that he only seemed to suffer, they themselves only seeming to be. [*4]
8 And as they believe so shall it happen unto them; when being divested of the body they shall become [*5] mere spirits.
9 But I know that even after his resurrection he was in the flesh; and I believed that he is still so.
10 And when he came to those who were with Peter, [*6] he said unto them, Take, handle me, and see that I am not an incorporeal daemon. And straightway they felt and believed; being convinced both by his flesh and spirit.
11 For this cause they despised death, and were found to be above [*7] it.
12 But after his resurrection he did eat and drink with them, as he was flesh; although as to his Spirit he was united to the Father.
1 Exhorts them against heretics. 8 The danger of their doctrine.
NOW these things, beloved, [*8] put you in mind of, not questioning but that you yourselves also [*9] believe that they are so.
2 But I arm you before-hand against certain beasts in the shape of men whom you must not only not receive, but if it be possible must not meet with.
3 Only you must pray for them, that if it be the will of God they may repent; which yet will be very hard. But of this our Lord Jesus Christ has the power, who is our true life.
4 For if all these things were done only in shew by our Lord, then do I also seem only to be bound.
5 And why have I given up myself to death, to the fire, to the sword, to wild beasts!
6 But now the nearer I am to the sword, the nearer I am to God: when I shall come among the wild beasts, I shall come to God.
7 Only in the name of Jesus Christ, I undergo all, to suffer[p. 187]
together with him; he who was made a perfect man strengthening me.
8 Whom some not knowing, do deny; or rather have been denied by him, being the advocates of death, rather than of the truth. Whom neither the prophecies, nor the law of Moses have persuaded; nor the Gospel itself even to this day, nor the sufferings of every one of us.
9 For they think also the same things of us. For what does a man profit me, if he shall praise me, and blaspheme my Lord; not confessing that he [*1] was truly made man?
10 Now he that doth not say this, does in effect deny him, and is in death. But for the names of such as do this, they being unbelievers, I thought it not fitting to write them unto you.
11 Yea, God forbid that I should make any mention of them, till they shall repent to a true belief of Christ’s passion, which is our resurrection.
12 Let no man deceive himself; both the things which are in heaven and the glorious angels, and princes, whether visible or invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, [*2] it shall be to them to condemnation.
13 [*3] He that is able to receive this, let him receive it. Let no man’s [*4] place or state in the world puff him up: that which is worth all his faith and charity, to which nothing is to be preferred.
14 But consider those who are of a different opinion from us, as to what concerns the grace of Jesus Christ which is come unto us, how contrary they are to the design of God.
15 They have no regard to charity, no care of the widow, the fatherless, and the oppressed; of the bond or free, of the hungry or thirsty.
16 They abstain from the eucharist, and from [*5] the public offices; because they confess not the eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ; which suffered for our sins, and which the Father of his goodness, raised again from the dead.
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